"The health ministry of the Republic of Belarus and RDIF announce that Belarus has started vaccinating its population with Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus," RDIF said in a press release.
On 21 December, Belarus became the first foreign nation to officially register Sputnik V, RDIF recalled, also noting that the effort to launch vaccine production in Belarus continues.
"Immunization remains a key instrument in the fight against the epidemic process. Today, Belarus enters a new stage, as its starts mass vaccination against COVID-19. Medical staffers, teachers and citizens who have many contacts with people at work will be the first to receive the vaccine. Vaccination will be exclusively voluntary," Belarusian Minister of Health Dmitry Pinevich noted, as quoted in the press release.
Russia's health minister, Mikhail Murashko, praised the efficient operation of Belarusian regulatory agencies, which made it possible to quickly grant the Belarusian people access to the Russian vaccine.
The Sputnik V was the first COVID-19 vaccine registered in Russia and the world. Russia's Sputnik V is 92 percent effective, based on data from the first 16,000 trial participants that have received both shots of the two-dose vaccine.